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About Other / Professional Official Beta Tester Liam SharpMale/United States Groups :iconmadefire: MADEFIRE
Innovative digital storytelling
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Statistics 791 Deviations 11,146 Comments 274,644 Pageviews

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What do you want most in the new year? 

79 deviants said More time to draw.
66 deviants said Gold. Or money. Lots of money.
65 deviants said A change! I'm stagnating! Please, somebody, drag me from this pit of mediocrity!!!!
45 deviants said Love. I needs me some sweet loving - and how!
34 deviants said A job!!!
24 deviants said A different job. Boy, does my job suck!
23 deviants said Peace.
17 deviants said Once again, Sharpy, you totally missed my wants and needs. What's the matter with you? Damn, you're so removed from reality right now...
9 deviants said More time to write.
1 deviant said More time to make music!




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LiamSharp's Profile Picture
Liam Sharp
Artist | Professional | Other
United States
Liam Sharp is the co-founder and CCO of Madefire, as well as an artist, writer and publisher.

He made his debut in the late 1980s drawing Judge Dredd for 2000ad. He later moved to Marvel UK, where he drew the best-selling Marvel UK title ever, Death's Head II. Thereafter he began working mainly in the United States on books as diverse as the X-Men, the Hulk, Spider-Man, Venom, Man-Thing (for Marvel Comics), Superman, Batman, and The Possessed (for DC Comics and Wildstorm), Spawn: The Dark Ages (for Todd McFarlane and Image) and Red Sonja for Dynamite comics.
Liam has also worked on more mature themed books for Verotik, drawing Frank Frazetta's The Death Dealer, and a strip originated by Stan Winston called Realm of the Claw.

In 2004 Liam established MamTor™ Publishing with wife Christina. This saw the launch of the critically acclaimed and award-winning anthology Event Horizon, and the prestigious collaboration with Mother (London) Advertising, Four Feet From a Rat, which appeared as a quarterly comic in Time Out magazine. This led to work on three major advertising campaigns for the Coca-Cola Company, art and design work for Strange Beast, Passion Pictures, Knuckleheads, Shots magazine and Red Arrow Entertainment amongst others.

Liam also worked on designs for the movies Lost in Space, Small Soldiers and the animated series Batman Beyond.

More recent work includes co-creating the controversial DC/Vertigo title Testament with best-selling novelist and media commentator Douglas Rushkoff, the comic adaptation of the seminal XBox game Gears of War for Wildstorm, and the graphic novella Aliens: Fast Track to Heaven for Dark Horse.

Liam's critically acclaimed first novel GOD KILLERS: MACHIVARIUS POINT & OTHER TALES was published in 2008 with a second edition in 2009.

For Madefire he is currently working on an epic personal project that he is co-writing with wife Christina McCormack called Captain Stone is Missing... as well as writing MONO, and co-producing art with Bill Sienkiewicz for a series of Sherlock Holmes stories.
Did you ever really THINK about what money is? I mean, what it ACTUALLY is?

I never did. It's probably part of the reason I'm not very money-oriented; not, in my heart, a capitalist. But still, as I look around at the news, at the growing divide between the rich and poor - they that truly care about the world and its well-being, and they that do not, and all that comes of globally powerful corporations, and how they absorb and smother all else that tries to grow in their shadow - and it seems increasingly like something I really HAVE to understand.

But where do you start?

There's a lot to know. And it's not cut and dried! There are many human transactions that happen without a like-for-like trade, and sometimes with no trade at all. You'll pass a hammer to somebody banging a nail in the wall to hand your photo. You'll help somebody weaker than you carry their bag across a road, up some stairs. You might furnish a beggars paper cup with a paper dollar. Not all of these are moral trade-offs. They aren't done to get soul points in the game of life. Often they are altruistic in the truest Darwinian sense - we're helping our fellow human animals survive. We're innately compassionate - at least, some of us are - and these moments well from that. Or else they are purely practical acts.

I didn't know, but at the heart of western economic theory (and it IS considered a science, with irrefutable laws) there lies a pseudo-anthropological genesis story that is only logical in the most basic sense. The story goes like this: One man in a village needs a new shoe. He happens to grow potatoes. Another man has a spare shoe but needs potatoes. Because of this 'double accident of need' they are able to trade. In fact all western monetary theory hinges on this - and it's in error. Because it turns out that no 'actual' anthropological evidence exists to suggest we naturally create like for like trading relationships within villages, towns or tribes - early societies if you like. The examples of barter-based periods (the post-empire dark ages) or nations are erroneous.

Many of the so-called 'primitive' societies studied in the 1950 in Africa, for example, had nothing like the kind of monetary system attributed to like-for-like bartering. Value would be seen in a type of hand-made cloth, or a rare wood, and would be used more as a symbol gift between tribes to facilitate marriages, or put right a wrong - such as an accidental killing. Some tribes had life-debts, with women as a kind of empowered currency. Indeed bondmaids have always been a form of currency - even (shockingly) today, where the very wealthiest businessmen might be offered women for the night. This is because these women have parents that have debts, as often as not, and we see this even on mainstream TV, frequently, and almost never really think about what is at the heart of such a transaction. Children become currency.

But still, what does a coin ACTUALLY represent?

Well, it's an IOU, but one that can be passed on in faith. And in order to work it needs debt.

Money can be made like this: A king needs an army. To support his army he needs to be able to feed it. To feed it he needs people who farm to provide his army food. He mints coins for his army, then demands tax from the farmers. To get the money to pay the king the farmers sell their stock to the army, who pay for it with the coins given them by the king. This is, of course, simplistic, but the Bank of England was formed almost exactly so (from wikipedia):

"England's crushing defeat by France, the dominant naval power, in naval engagements culminating in the 1690 Battle of Beachy Head, became the catalyst for England's rebuilding itself as a global power. England had no choice but to build a powerful navy. No public funds were available, and the credit of William III's government was so low in London that it was impossible for it to borrow the £1,200,000 (at 8 per cent) that the government wanted.

In order to induce subscription to the loan, the subscribers were to be incorporated by the name of the Governor and Company of the Bank of England. The Bank was given exclusive possession of the government's balances, and was the only limited-liability corporation allowed to issue bank notes.[14] The lenders would give the government cash (bullion) and issue notes against the government bonds, which can be lent again. The £1.2m was raised in 12 days; half of this was used to rebuild the navy."

So what IS money?

Throughout all history the most reviled have been the banks and the debtors. To be a debtor is almost equivalent to sin. We loath debt, and pity those who find themselves in debt, as we revile those that fall into debt through stupidity, gambling, living beyond their means. The debtors prison was a hellhole - unless you were rich. We hate the money-lenders - the banks - because we are tied to them from birth to the grave, and their whim can make or ruin us, help us achieve our dreams, or cast us out onto the streets. In France the concept of making interest as a money-lender was once a criminal offense. In biblical stories, Shakespeare, fact and fiction, the money lender is evil. But the debtor is fallen also.

There is a concept that we are born in debt - in debt to our parents for giving us life. A debt that can be paid only through our children.

Debt has been given spiritual gravitas - we owe our lives to the gods, to be paid with living sacrifices. (Debts, incidentally, that can never be paid because the gods already have everything.) Only our eventual death somehow clears the debt of life.

But still - what the hell IS money?

We now live in an age where the richest 85 people in the world have as much of this 'money' as the poorest 3.6 billion - that's half the world! And if money really IS just an IOU, what does that actually mean? They are hoarding IOUs? To what end? How can the economy work if those IOUs aren't actually in circulation? In this instance they have created a kind of meta-layer over humanity, where they are beyond debt, and thereby not subject to the same laws as anybody else - but the knock-on to the rest of us is immense, because the truth is their understanding of what money is is actually flawed, and based - as we saw earlier - on the pseudo-anthropological notion of a barter system that never existed.

The more you look, the more you read, the more you see that things we take for granted are built on mythology. Different currencies operated across empires, and certain of them remained a spoken currency long after that civilization had ended - in which case it became a symbolic currency only. A donkey is worth 125 denarii, for example, but the term is reduced to an idea of measurement, rather than the 'actual' Roman coin the concept is based up. There is not a tribal culture surviving in it's natural state that operates under anything remotely like our global economy, or the fictional barter-based system that supposedly spawned it. Mesopotamian money was not used in the ways we might expect - certainly nothing like we see it today. Often money was the domain of the temple, from which the palace pinched the concept - the ruler becoming like a living god who (like the gods) also had everything, and could grant (and often did) freedom of all debts to his or her people. We were indebted to them from birth too.

Numerous accounts exist of lives being saved, and the saved man demanding to be given a gift. The man who saved him might exclaim "but you should give ME a gift! I saved YOU!" Such stories confused many a Victorian evangelist or adventurer. But to be saved is a life debt, and unless you are freed of that debt you are a slave to the man who saved you. It is honourable, therefore, to give the saved man a gift, rather than demand payment. To free him. This is NOT traditional barter! And isolated societies exist by having a central store which belongs to everybody. In such tight societies it would be frowned on to want more than anybody else, and you would be punished if you were caught steeling. Incredibly elaborate systems evolve, but they are built mostly on fair-mindedness and need, and currency tends to evolve around sex and death - and, of course, debt.

I've been trying to understand what I can. I'm reading lots, and learning. But I still have no idea what money really is - other than having a hunch that we have built for ourselves an elaborate trap, a perpetual cycle that keeps us in eternal bondage...

Journal History


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ChiliGarlic Apr 13, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
You Sir are aWESOme! ^_________^
LiamSharp Apr 14, 2014  Professional Artist
Aw. Blushing here! :-)
ChiliGarlic Apr 14, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Hey Mr. Sharp, I just finished my first whole comicbook, it's not perfect, I learned a ton doing it, but I'm still pretty stoked about the accomplishment. And since there is someone of your caliber on here I thought I'd hit you up, if you ever have some spare time and are in the mood to check it out I'd love your feedback. I won't be all pissy if you don't have the time, or if you do and are a little harsh with my flaws, I can take critique. Thanks and keep up the good work :)
LiamSharp Apr 10, 2014  Professional Artist
Bravo for finishing and seeing it through! That's a big part of the battle!

I checked out your gallery. My best advice is - get some character in your linework. Ink with a brush and bring in some texture -…

Also - don't go for the obvious. Try and be organic and original with the shapes and designs. A room needn't just be a room, it might be cylindrical or intestinal. Armour might have bumps or a shell-like texture. Texture and tone are key - light/dark, shiny/dull, clean/dirty, etc. And don't be affraid to use reference and allow the imagery to breath with a lot of negative space.

Hope that helps!
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